Australia news September 7, 2009

Australia's captaincy contenders


Cricket Australia will announce Ricky Ponting's replacement as national Twenty20 captain after their October board meeting. Alex Brown runs the rule over the contenders

Michael Clarke, 28, New South Wales

Cricket Australia's kingmakers nailed their colours to the mast two years ago by announcing Clarke as Ponting's successor, but recent developments have called into question whether the baton change will be so clear-cut. A mainstay of Australia's Test middle-order, Clarke has made less of an impact in the limited overs formats, where his modest strike-rates (67.31 and 80.91 in one-dayers and Twenty20s respectively since the beginning of 2008) have placed significant pressure on his teammates to lift the tempo. That said, Australia have won 11 out of 14 ODIs under Clarke's captaincy, and the right-hander has averaged 97 in his two matches as Australia's Twenty20 skipper. He remains the favourite to succeed Ponting.

Cameron White, 26, Victoria

White has played a leading role in guiding the Bushrangers to all four domestic Big Bash finals - three of them victoriously - and is considered one of the most tactically astute Twenty20 minds in the country. Though omitted from Australia's original squad for the World Twenty20 in England this year, he was eventually called in to replace the Andrew Symonds and retained his position for the series in England. White possesses a presence not dissimilar to Symonds in the Australian middle order - he has averaged 41.40 at the eye-catching strike-rate of 150 in eight Twenty20 internationals - and also offers an occasional wrist-spinning option. With Symonds out of the picture, White will presumably be a permanent fixture in the Australian Twenty20 side henceforth.

Brad Haddin, 31, New South Wales

Selectors have twice called upon Haddin to lead Australia in Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand (home) and Pakistan (away) during rest periods for Ponting and Clarke. Previously, he earned a reputation as an aggressive and adventurous leader at NSW, but has made way for Simon Katich at domestic level in recent seasons. A compact and aggressive batsman, Haddin has been used everywhere from opener to the middle-order in his ODI and Twenty20 career and remains a competent wicketkeeper. Australia's selections panel might baulk at adding to his already heavy workload, however.

Michael Hussey, 34, Western Australia

Hussey is an unlikely option given his advanced age and 0-4 win-loss record as national ODI captain, but has emerged as perhaps the most important batsman in Australia's limited overs sides. Despite modest recent returns in the Test arena, Hussey has played a Michael Bevan-esque role in recent ODI campaigns and was the only Australian nominated for the ICC's one-day player of the year crown.

Callum Ferguson, 24, South Australia

Australia have lost their past five Twenty20 internationals - including both pool games in a shambolic World Twenty20 campaign - prompting CA to announce a major review of selection and tactics. Ferguson would represent the ultimate in clean slates, although an elevation to the captaincy would seem most improbable given his dearth of leadership experience with the Redbacks. He nonetheless remains Australia's brightest batting prospect and could feasibly play the game at the highest level for another decade.

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ben on September 9, 2009, 13:08 GMT

    Test and ODI captain (after ponting RETIRES) = Clarke T20 captain = White NOW

    Why does Australia struggle inT20's, because it doesnt pick "horses for courses". Yeah it does it in test cricket ie leaving out Hauritz if seaming pitch, but not T20. YET. Appointing White as captain of the T20 team will show that the Aus cricket is serious about T20, and so it should be, the people have clearly voted.

    Clarke is a wonderful Test and ODI player, but with an average of 19, a strike rate of 102 and only 9 fours in 15 innings...he too should retire/be dropped/improve rapidly in T20 cricket.

    It Must be Cameron White. His record proves it.

  • Paul on September 9, 2009, 1:48 GMT

    Why is this even worth discussing? Clarke is tactically astute and performs at all levels of the game. Watch his energy and communication on-field and you clearly see he has leadership ability and the respect of his team-mates. And he's clearly got his priorities in order, given that he's been prepared to snub the IPL in favour of ensuring he's sufficiently rested to play for Australia. This article has great merit in examining who should fill in for Clarke when he can't play, or who should replace him when he eventually retires, but other than that, there's no point to it.

  • Luke on September 9, 2009, 0:46 GMT

    You do realise this is 20/20 we're talking about here. Who cares! Give it to Shane Watson, or his mum, whoever it doesn't matter. It's 3 hours of rubbish and gives nothing to cricket or the captain of a side. Field placings are unimportant as it's either an in-out field or closer in. This format is hurting cricket by reducing the amount of real (ie test) cricket played. Sri Lanka is playing only 6 tests in the next 18 months! Come on people, the reason there is too much cricket is because of how much limited over crap there is. 7 ODIs after an Ashes series! This is a joke.

  • Thushar on September 8, 2009, 10:47 GMT

    It has to be Cameron White. Clarke is, as some one mentioned, a whiner... I just don't think he is captaincy material... Not for T20s, ODIs, Tests.....

  • Carl on September 8, 2009, 10:38 GMT

    It's completely obvious theres no doubt there is only one person fit for the job. Cameron has all the credentials, captaincy experience, the x factor (internal agression to do more than most to win),not to mention the runs on the board. He's an out and out limited overs specialist and the Australian selectors knowing this would only be kidding themselves and the rest of the world not to give him the helm to carve his freakish cricket ability into the boards of all rivals. He is a competitor in every sport/recreation i've know him to participate in. If any of the Australian heirarchy ever look into these comments, do yourselves a favour and make the sensible choice, the peoples choice and give the keys to the 'bear' Jivey

  • Mike on September 8, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    I'm suprised to see the negative comments about Michael Clarke's captaincy..

    From my memory hasn't he won nearly all his one day matches he captained? Also 20/20 matches he's done quite well captaining.

    Now that he is over this ( i should open to batting to get hundred crap) out of his game he is currently our best captain. I would rather see punter move aside in test cricket for clarkey.

    He's definitely had a better time as leader than Hussey has thats for sure.

    I for one am happy punter has moved aside from 20/20. We need a younger team in that format for our test cricket to survive with the better players.

    WHY isn't phillip hughes playing one day cricket? you can't bowl short to him all game. i think he could be the next gillie. Some glitches.. but boy does he hit em.

    And to even name callum ferguson among the contenders is just plain stupidity. Why not let Dave warner be captain.. wasn't he the lastest craze not so long ago? He must be perfect for it.

  • Rahul on September 8, 2009, 5:52 GMT

    Lol @ mentioning Ferguson. Let him establish himself first. Yeah, he's had a great start but come on. Regardless of his recent form in the shorter version of the game, I don't think that there is ANY doubt over Clarke taking over. The captain of the team does not need to have the highest strike rate/average in the team - just a sound cricketing head on his shoulders which Clarke definitely has.

  • Shivakumar on September 8, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    If Australia were disgraced in Punter's captaincy, it will be a disaster with Clarke. He is just another whiner not a winner. Haddin seems to be a good choice. The problem is his glove work though, still scratchy, but we also have to remember, he is replacing Gilli. Not an easy job.

    One could try White, though I have not seen him much to comment.

  • Mohammad Imran on September 8, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    Given the fact that Camron has already captained local teams along with his AUstralia A captaincy experience, he has the big heart to take brave decisions which are essential for T20 cricket. i wont mind if camron has been selected as T20 captain based on his exposure and Clark should let his work do as hes the major middle order stay in recent australian batting lineup.

  • Peter on September 8, 2009, 0:42 GMT

    Clarke being captain is ridiculous and here's why - he's third in line for his state team! (after Katich and Haddin). I just have never understood where it was thought this guy would be a great captain. I think the best bet for the T20 and then the other forms once Ponting retires would be Cameron White. He's captained Victoria for ages, and I think if the selectors stop trying to force him to be an allrounder and let him focus on his batting, he could be a great batsman. He has the best cricketing brain in the current Australian set-up. Oh and a side note, the selectors should drop him back down to number 5 or 6 so he can play the Symonds role because his explosiveness is wasted at number 3 at the moment. We need another big hitter along with Ferguson down the order.

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